Posting will be light today, but in the meantime, chew on this scenario:
Mitt Romney wins Iowa; Mike Huckabee is second; Rudy Giuliani is third; Fred Thompson is fourth.
Giuliani wins New Hampshire, followed by Romney or Huckabee or McCain.
Romney wins Michigan; Huckabee or McCain is second.
Thompson wins South Carolina, followed by Giuliani. Romney is third.
Florida will be extremely competitive on Jan. 29.
The candidates split the Feb. 5 states, with Giuliani running the table in the Northeast, Thompson taking the South and Romney picking up Arizona and winning delegates in proportionally allocated states elsewhere.
The media isn't sure which candidate to pressure to drop out; Romney will have enough money to compete, Giuliani may have a delegate lead, and Thompson is clearly the favorite son in the deep South.
Could March 4 be the filter? That's when Ohio and Minnesota -- two big Midwestern swing states -- not to mention Vermont and Massachusetts -- hold contests.